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      Car History: Car History Year 1970
    Posted on Monday, September 27 @ 00:47:23 UTC by Cars
      Cars A new decade: Henry Kissinger begins secret negotiations with his North Vietnamese counterpart as anti-war demonstrations take place across the US; the Boeing 747 enters commercial service; Midnight Cowboy wins the Academy Award for Best Picture; Gary Gabelich sets a new land speed record in Utah: 622.4 mph. -and in a State of the Union address, delivered in January 1970, President Richard M. Nixon urged the Congress to adopt legislation to protect the environment. Meanwhile...

    Plymouth had gone Hollywood in '69 by adopting Warner Bros. popular cartoon character the Road Runner as the name and symbol for a new range of low-priced, medium-sized, high-performance muscle cars that achieved instant popularity. Base price for a GTX was below $3,000 - for a car that featured a 383, 335 bhp V8 hemi with 440 heads. Performance was shattering and you even got a genuine, Road Runner "Beep! Beep!" horn. Styling had been addressed and the Plymouth range went boldly forward into 1970 with heavy-duty "fuselage" styling and a lot of vents and scoops and humps both operative and speculative. In the mid-size range, the third-generation, '70 Barracuda could be ordered with 426 Hemi and a six-barrel 440 rated at 390 bhp. The ultimate Road Runner - the Superbird - debuted in 1970. The Superbird was derived from the '69 Dodge Charger Daytona, employing an identical, massive, aerodynamic, front-end extension that covered the headlights and a towering rear spoiler mounted on struts above the trunk. Production models were fitted with the 335 hp, 383 cu. in. V8 carrying a four-barrel carburetor and TorqueFlite automatic transmission but options included four-speed manual transmission and a 390 hp, 440 cu. in. Street Hemi with the 440 "Six Pack." Tuned, racing versions were capable of speeds in excess of 200 mph and the Superbird was campaigned with incredible success and dominated the 1970 NASCAR season. Qualifying production quotas had been increased from 500 to 1,500 and Plymouth built a total of 1,920 Superbirds. Pete Hamilton won the 1970 Daytona 500 in a Superbird, at an average speed of nearly 150 mph and Superbirds were responsible for 21 out of Chrysler's 38 Grand National wins that year. NASCAR changed the rules in 1971, bringing the Superbird's reign, and production of the car itself, to an abrupt end. The brief but glorious life of the all-conquering Superbird assured it iconic status as the muscle car to end all muscle cars and it seems fairly safe to suggest that we shall not see its like again. The daddy of all Pony Cars - the Ford Mustang - continued from strength to strength. A fastback coupe, the Boss 302, had been added to the line in '69. The Boss was a street version of the car that had dominated the Sports Car Club of America's Trans-American race program. The car was fitted with a 302 cu. in. "small block" V8 producing over 300 bhp and had its own, distinctive styling package. Less than 2,000 Bosses were built in '69 but more than 6,000 were produced in 1970. The price tag was $3,588. The Boss 429 cost $4,798, for which the purchaser got the "Cobra-Jet" 429 with aluminum heads and semi-hemisperical combustion chambers shoe-horned into a customized body. Ford abandoned racing in 1970, pulling out of the trans-Am, NASCAR, USAC and overseas competition. Sales were falling as the first Age of the Pony Car drew to a close; like the Titanic, powerful and magnificent, it was heading, inexorably, for the iceberg that was the oil crisis of the early '70s. Cars like the Superbee and the Boss Mustang were the last hurrah, but it's fascinating to wonder what heights might have been reached if the oil hadn't dried up and muscle hadn't gone out of style... As things were, cars like the Maverick started to eat into Mustang sales, so what Ford lost in one market sector they gained in another. The Maverick started out, in 1970, as a 2-door compact with neat, fastback styling. Nimble rather than muscular, with 170 cu. in. 6-cylinder engine, it was a Diet Mustang, which was just what buyers were looking for, especially at a starting price of under $2,000. A determined advertising campaign pushed first-year sales to 579,000. A 4-door was added in '71, plus a more powerful 2-door, the Grabber, compete with a 302 cu. in., 210 hp, V8 option. Performance would never resemble that of the mighty Mustang but Ford were keen to stress the bloodline and the Grabber was graced with various refinements and trim options that emphasized its identity as a species of Mustang Lite. At the end of the model run in 1976, a Stallion version was introduced that mimicked the Mustang even more. Specification PLYMOUTH ROAD RUNNER SUPERBIRD Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 440 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.32x3.75 ins. Horsepower 390 Body styles Hardtop coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,785 Ibs Price $4,298 Produced 1,920     Specification MUSTANG TWISTER SPECIAL Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 429 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.36x3.59 ins. Horsepower 375 Body styles Fastback coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,240 Ibs Price 3,500 Produced 300     Specification MUSTANG BOSS Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 302 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.00x3.00 ins. Horsepower 290 Body styles Fastback coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,227 Price 3,720 Produced 6,319  
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